University of Missouri

Missouri notes: Willie Cauley-Stein sparks Kentucky

MU’s Johnathan Williams III missed 10 first-half shots while guarded by Willie Cauley-Stein and Kentucky.
MU’s Johnathan Williams III missed 10 first-half shots while guarded by Willie Cauley-Stein and Kentucky. The Associated Press

Kentucky junior center Willie Cauley-Stein gave a couple balls fakes, but Missouri sophomore forward Johnathan Williams III wouldn’t budge.

Instead, Cauley-Stein rose up and swished an 18-foot jumper with 6 minutes, 22 seconds remaining. He held the bent wrist at the top of his shot for a few seconds jogging down the floor.

It was that kind of night for Cauley-Stein, an Olathe Northwest graduate, as the Wildcats rocked the Tigers 86-37 on Tuesday night at Rupp Arena.

“Willie was really, really good tonight,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said. “I will tell you that I still think offensively he can do more.”

Cauley-Stein finished with 13 points, five rebounds, two blocks and an assist.

▪ Missouri coach Kim Anderson said that Montaque Gill-Caesar didn’t make the trip to Kentucky in order to receive treatment on his ailing back.

Gill-Caesar, the Tigers’ second-leading scorer, has missed the last three games with back spasms.

“I don’t have a definitive answer when he would play again,” Anderson said. “It’s hard to say. He’s getting better, but I don’t know if he’s going to get better fast enough to play this weekend.”

▪ Kentucky beat Missouri and Kansas, which it defeated 72-40, by a combined 81 points this season. So you can say the Wildcats won the Border War.

First half

Key play: Kentucky 7-footers Karl-Anthony Towns and Willie Cauley-Stein picked up loose balls after Missouri bobbled defensive rebounds for uncontested dunks.

Key stat: Missouri scored 18 points, the fewest points since scoring 16 in the first half of a 62-60 win Feb. 9, 2009, against Kansas.

Second half

Key play: During the closing minutes, Missouri junior Ryan Rosburg’s bounce pass to freshman Namon Wright rolled out of bounds when Wright broke toward the basket. It was that kind of night.

Key stat: Missouri finished with 37 points, which matches the fewest since a 55-37 loss against Oklahoma on Feb. 21, 1959. The Tigers haven’t scored fewer since a 41-36 loss to Oklahoma on Jan. 9, 1950.

To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to tpalmer@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @todpalmer.

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